Europe :: Spain
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Spain
Location of Spain
 
Map of Spain
Introduction ::Spain
Spain's powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power. Spain remained neutral in World Wars I and II but suffered through a devastating civil war (1936-39). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) gave Spain a dynamic and rapidly growing economy and made it a global champion of freedom and human rights. The government continues to battle the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization, but its major focus for the immediate future will be on measures to reverse the severe economic recession that started in mid-2008.
Geography ::Spain
Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France
40 00 N, 4 00 W
total: 505,370 sq km
country comparison to the world: 51
land: 498,980 sq km
water: 6,390 sq km
note: there are two autonomous cities - Ceuta and Melilla - and 17 autonomous communities including Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, and three small Spanish possessions off the coast of Morocco - Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera
slightly more than twice the size of Oregon
total: 1,917.8 km
border countries: Andorra 63.7 km, France 623 km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal 1,214 km, Morocco (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Morocco (Melilla) 9.6 km
4,964 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (applies only to the Atlantic Ocean)
temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast
large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees in north
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m
coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land
arable land: 27.18%
permanent crops: 9.85%
other: 62.97% (2005)
37,800 sq km (2003)
111.1 cu km (2005)
total: 37.22 cu km/yr (13%/19%/68%)
per capita: 864 cu m/yr (2002)
periodic droughts
pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from raw sewage and effluents from the offshore production of oil and gas; water quality and quantity nationwide; air pollution; deforestation; desertification
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar; Spain controls a number of territories in northern Morocco including the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and the islands of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas, and Islas Chafarinas
People ::Spain
40,525,002 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
0-14 years: 14.5% (male 3,021,822/female 2,842,597)
15-64 years: 67.4% (male 13,705,107/female 13,601,399)
65 years and over: 18.1% (male 3,071,394/female 4,282,683) (2009 est.)
total: 41.1 years
male: 39.7 years
female: 42.5 years (2009 est.)
0.072% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
9.72 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
9.99 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
0.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
urban population: 77% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 4.21 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 208
male: 4.59 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 80.05 years
country comparison to the world: 23
male: 76.74 years
female: 83.57 years (2009 est.)
1.31 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
0.5% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
140,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
2,300 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
noun: Spaniard(s)
adjective: Spanish
composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types
Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%
Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%, are official regionally
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.9%
male: 98.7%
female: 97.2% (2003 est.)
total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2006)
4.2% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 97
Government ::Spain
conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain
conventional short form: Spain
local long form: Reino de Espana
local short form: Espana
parliamentary monarchy
name: Madrid
geographic coordinates: 40 24 N, 3 41 W
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
note: Spain is divided into two time zones including the Canary Islands
17 autonomous communities (comunidades autonomas, singular - comunidad autonoma) and 2 autonomous cities* (ciudades autonomas, singular - ciudad autonoma); Andalucia, Aragon, Asturias, Baleares (Balearic Islands), Ceuta*, Canarias (Canary Islands), Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Cataluna (Catalonia), Comunidad Valenciana (Valencian Community), Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Melilla*, Murcia, Navarra, Pais Vasco (Basque Country)
note: the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla plus three small islands of Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera, administered directly by the Spanish central government, are all along the coast of Morocco and are collectively referred to as Places of Sovereignty (Plazas de Soberania)
1492; the Iberian peninsula was characterized by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Muslim occupation that began in the early 8th century A.D. and lasted nearly seven centuries; the small Christian redoubts of the north began the reconquest almost immediately, culminating in the seizure of Granada in 1492; this event completed the unification of several kingdoms and is traditionally considered the forging of present-day Spain
National Day, 12 October (1492); year when Columbus first set foot in the Americas
approved by legislature 31 October 1978; passed by referendum 6 December 1978; effective 29 December 1978
civil law system, with regional applications; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: King JUAN CARLOS I (since 22 November 1975); Heir Apparent Prince FELIPE, son of the monarch, born 30 January 1968
head of government: President of the Government (Prime Minister equivalent) Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATERO (since 17 April 2004); First Vice President (and Minister of the Presidency) Maria Teresa FERNANDEZ DE LA VEGA (since 18 April 2004), Second Vice President (and Minister of Economy and Finance) Elena SALGADO Mendez (since 8 April 2009), and Third Vice President (and Minister of Regional Affairs) Manuel CHAVES Gonzalez (since 8 April 2009)
cabinet: Council of Ministers designated by the president
note: there is also a Council of State that is the supreme consultative organ of the government, but its recommendations are non-binding
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually proposed president by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly; election last held on 9 and 11 April 2008 (next to be held in March 2012); vice presidents appointed by the monarch on the proposal of the president
election results: Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATERO reelected President of the Government; percent of National Assembly vote - 46.94%
bicameral; General Courts or Las Cortes Generales (National Assembly) consists of the Senate or Senado (264 seats as of 2008; 208 members directly elected by popular vote and the other 56 - as of 2008 - appointed by the regional legislatures; to serve four-year terms) and the Congress of Deputies or Congreso de los Diputados (350 seats; each of the 50 electoral provinces fills a minimum of two seats and the North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla fill one seat each with members serving a four-year term; the other 248 members are determined by proportional representation based on popular vote on block lists who serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 9 March 2008 (next to be held not later than March 2012); Congress of Deputies - last held on 9 March 2008 (next to be held not later than March 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PP 101, PSOE 88, Entesa Catalona de Progress 12, CiU 4, PNV 2, CC 1, members appointed by regional legislatures 56; Congress of Deputies - percent of vote by party - PSOE 43.6%, PP 40.1%, CiU 3.1%, PNV 1.2%, ERC 1.2%, other 10.8%; seats by party - PSOE 169, PP 154, CiU 10, PNV 6, ERC 3, other 8
Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo
Aragonese Party or CHA [Bizen FUSTER]; Basque Nationalist Party or PNV or EAJ [Inigo URKULLU]; Basque Solidarity or EA [Begona ERRAZTI]; Canarian Coalition or CC [Jose Torres STINGA] (a coalition of five parties); Convergence and Union or CiU [Artur MAS i Gavarro] (a coalition of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia or CDC [Artur MAS i Gavarro] and the Democratic Union of Catalonia or UDC [Josep Antoni DURAN i LLEIDA]); Entesa Catalonia de Progress (a Senate coalition grouping four Catalan parties - PSC, ERC, ICV, EUA); Galician Nationalist Bloc or BNG [Anxo Manuel QUINTANA Gonzalez]; Initiative for Catalonia Greens or ICV [Joan SAURA i Laporta]; Navarra yes or Na Bai [Uxue BARKOS Berruezo] (a coalition of four Navarran parties); Popular Party or PP [Mariano RAJOY Brey]; Republican Left of Catalonia or ERC [Joan RIDAO]; Spanish Socialist Workers Party or PSOE [Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATERO]; United Left or IU [Cayo LARA] (a coalition of parties including the Communist Party of Spain or PCE and other small parties)
Association for Victims of Terrorism or AVT (grassroots organization devoted primarily to opposing ETA terrorist attacks and supporting its victims); Basta Ya (Spanish for "Enough is Enough"; grassroots organization devoted primarily to opposing ETA terrorist attacks and supporting its victims); Nunca Mais (Galician for "Never Again"; formed in response to the oil Tanker Prestige oil spill); Socialist General Union of Workers or UGT and the smaller independent Workers Syndical Union or USO; Trade Union Confederation of Workers' Commissions or CC.OO.
other: business and landowning interests; Catholic Church; free labor unions (authorized in April 1977); university students
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BCIE, BIS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURCAT, MONUC, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
chief of mission: Ambassador Jorge DEZCALLAR de Mazarredo
chancery: 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 452-0100, 728-2340
FAX: [1] (202) 833-5670
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Arnold A. CHACON
embassy: Serrano 75, 28006 Madrid
mailing address: PSC 61, APO AE 09642
telephone: [34] (91) 587-2200
FAX: [34] (91) 587-2303
consulate(s) general: Barcelona
three horizontal bands of red (top), yellow (double width), and red with the national coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band; the coat of arms is quartered to display the emblems of the traditional kingdoms of Spain (clockwise from upper left, Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Aragon) while Granada is represented by the stylized pomegranate at the bottom of the shield; the arms are framed by two columns representing the Pillars of Hercules, which are the two promontories (Gibraltar and Ceuta) on either side of the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar; the red scroll across the two columns bears the imperial motto of "Plus Ultra" (further beyond) referring to Spanish lands beyond Europe
Economy ::Spain
The Spanish economy grew every year from 1994 through 2008 before entering a recession that started in the third quarter of 2008. Spain's mixed capitalist economy supports a GDP that on a per capita basis is approaching that of the largest West European economies. The Socialist president, Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATERO, in office since 2004, has made mixed progress in carrying out key structural reforms. The economy was greatly affected, especially after Zapatero's second term began in April 2008, by the bursting of the housing bubble and construction boom that had fueled much of the economic growth between 2001 and 2007. The global financial crisis exacerbated the economic downturn. GDP growth in 2008 was 1.2%, well below the 3% or higher growth the country enjoyed from 1997 through 2007. The Spanish banking system is considered solid, thanks in part to conservative oversight by the European Central Bank, and government intervention to rescue banks on the scale seen elsewhere in Europe in 2008 was not necessary. After considerable success since the mid-1990s in reducing unemployment to a 2007 low of 8%, Spain suffered a major spike in unemployment in the last few months of 2008, finishing the year with an unemployment rate over 13%.
$1.403 trillion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
$1.386 trillion (2007 est.)
$1.337 trillion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$1.612 trillion (2008 est.)
1.2% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
3.7% (2007 est.)
3.9% (2006 est.)
$34,700 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
$34,300 (2007 est.)
$33,100 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 3.4%
industry: 29%
services: 67.6% (2008 est.)
22.85 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
agriculture: 4%
industry: 26.4%
services: 69.5% (2008 est.)
13.9% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
8.3% (2007 est.)
19.8% (2005)
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 26.6% (2000)
32 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 102
32.5 (1990)
29.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
revenues: $598.1 billion
expenditures: $659.1 billion (2008 est.)
40.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
53.2% of GDP (2004 est.)
4.1% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
2.8% (2007 est.)
3% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 102
5% (31 December 2007)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
9.54% (31 December 2008)
$NA
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 16 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money and quasi money circulating within their own borders
$NA
$3.196 trillion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 8
$2.976 trillion (31 December 2007)
$1.132 trillion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 10
$1.8 trillion (31 December 2007)
$1.323 trillion (31 December 2006)
grain, vegetables, olives, wine grapes, sugar beets, citrus; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish
textiles and apparel (including footwear), food and beverages, metals and metal manufactures, chemicals, shipbuilding, automobiles, machine tools, tourism, clay and refractory products, footwear, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment
-2.3% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
283.2 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
276.1 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
16.92 billion kWh (2008 est.)
5.88 billion kWh (2008 est.)
28,130 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
1.562 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
226,900 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
1.813 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
150 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
17 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
38.18 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 113
38.59 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
2.548 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
$-131.8 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
$-145.4 billion (2007 est.)
$285.4 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
$256.7 billion (2007 est.)
machinery, motor vehicles; foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, medicines, other consumer goods
France 18.4%, Germany 10.6%, Portugal 8.7%, Italy 8%, UK 6.7%, US 4.2% (2008)
$414.5 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
$380.2 billion (2007 est.)
machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, semifinished goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods, measuring and medical control instruments
Germany 14.5%, France 11.1%, Italy 7.4%, China 6.3%, UK 4.6%, Netherlands 4.4% (2008)
$20.25 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
$19.05 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$2.313 trillion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 7
$2.299 trillion (31 December 2007)
$636.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
$570.7 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$765 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
$687.4 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.6827 (2008 est.), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004)
Communications ::Spain
20.2 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 15
49.682 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 20
general assessment: well developed, modern facilities; fixed-line teledensity is roughly 50 per 100 persons
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is nearly 175 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 34; submarine cables provide connectivity to Europe, Middle East, Asia, and US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), NA Eutelsat; tropospheric scatter to adjacent countries
AM 18, FM 250, shortwave 2 (2008)
379 (2008)
.es
3.537 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 23
25.24 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 12
Transportation ::Spain
153 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 35
total: 95
over 3,047 m: 18
2,438 to 3,047 m: 12
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
914 to 1,523 m: 24
under 914 m: 23 (2009)
total: 58
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 39 (2009)
9 (2009)
gas 7,738 km; oil 560 km; refined products 3,445 km (2008)
total: 15,288 km
country comparison to the world: 18
broad gauge: 11,919 km 1.668-m gauge (6,950 km electrified)
standard gauge: 1,392 km 1.435-m gauge (1,054 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,949 km 1.000-m gauge (815 km electrified); 28 km 0.914-m gauge (28 km electrified) (2008)
total: 681,224 km
country comparison to the world: 10
paved: 681,224 km (includes 13,872 km of expressways) (2006)
1,000 km (2008)
country comparison to the world: 65
total: 158
country comparison to the world: 41
by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 14, chemical tanker 11, container 22, liquefied gas 11, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 47, petroleum tanker 16, refrigerated cargo 5, roll on/roll off 15, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 5
foreign-owned: 26 (Canada 4, Denmark 2, Germany 5, Italy 2, Mexico 3, Norway 5, UK 5)
registered in other countries: 110 (Angola 1, Argentina 2, Bahamas 14, Belize 1, Brazil 9, Cape Verde 1, Cuba 1, Cyprus 6, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 1, Nigeria 1, Panama 50, Portugal 11, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, UK 1, Uruguay 6, Venezuela 1) (2008)
Algeciras, Barcelona, Bilbao, Cartagena, Huelva, Tarragona, Valencia
Military ::Spain
Spanish Armed Forces: Army (Ejercito de Tierra), Spanish Navy (Armada Espanola, AE; includes Marine Corps), Spanish Air Force (Ejercito del Aire Espanola, EdA) (2009)
20 years of age (2004)
males age 16-49: 10,033,069
females age 16-49: 9,764,937 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 8,139,020
females age 16-49: 7,899,157 (2009 est.)
male: 199,124
female: 187,224 (2009 est.)
1.2% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
Transnational Issues ::Spain
in 2002, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to remain a British colony and against a "total shared sovereignty" arrangement while demanding participation in talks between the UK and Spain; Spain disapproves of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy; Morocco protests Spain's control over the coastal enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and the islands of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas, and Islas Chafarinas, and surrounding waters; Morocco serves as the primary launching site of illegal migration into Spain from North Africa; Portugal does not recognize Spanish sovereignty over the territory of Olivenza based on a difference of interpretation of the 1815 Congress of Vienna and the 1801 Treaty of Badajoz
despite rigorous law enforcement efforts, North African, Latin American, Galician, and other European traffickers take advantage of Spain's long coastline to land large shipments of cocaine and hashish for distribution to the European market; consumer for Latin American cocaine and North African hashish; destination and minor transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin; money-laundering site for Colombian narcotics trafficking organizations and organized crime